Pasta with eggplant, tomato, and ricotta salata

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by: Caroline B






This summer pasta is one that I make at least once when eggplant and tomatoes are truly at their peak. To keep the eggplant from absorbing too much oil, I salt it for several hours beforehand. When I have fresh cherry tomatoes in my garden, I dice a handful, toss them with some of the basil, then spoon them over the pasta just before serving. An excellent vegan pasta can be made without the cheese. Serve this rich, summery pasta with a Sicilian rose or white wine from Regaleali.




ingredients

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serves: 4

2 pounds eggplant, any variety

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 pound Roma or other ripe plum-type tomatoes, peeled

5 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 pound pasta wheels or spaghetti

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic minced

12 leaves basil slivered

1 (3 ounce) chunk of ricotta salata (thinly sliced)

1 handful of fresh tomatoes (diced and tossed with some of the basil)

Parmigiano-Reggianio for grating

Nutrition Facts
Pasta with eggplant, tomato, and ricotta salata

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 516

  • Total Fat: 22.3 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 4.5 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 73 mg
  • Sodium: 51.7 mg
  • Total Carbs: 66.7 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 9.5 g
  •     Sugars: 9.3 g
  • Protein: 15.6 g
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preparation

1.  Peel the eggplant and cut it into pieces about 1 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Toss with a teaspoon of salt and set aside for several hours. When you’re ready to cook, rinse off the salt, then squeeze it in an absorbent towel to wick off the water.

2.  Slice the peeled tomatoes lengthwise into quarters, pull out the seeds, then cut them into strips. If you’re not using them for a while, toss the strips in a little olive oil.

3.  Put on a big pot of water for the pasta. Heat a large skillet with 1/4 cup oil. When hot (a piece of eggplant should sizzle when you drop it in), add the eggplant and quickly give it a stir. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, lowering the heat if the pan seems too hot, until the eggplant is browned and tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn it onto paper towels and wipe out the pan. Salt the boiling water and add the pasta.

4.  Return the pan to the stove and reduce the heat since it will already be very hot. Add a tablespoon of oil, then the onion, and cook for several minutes until it°s pale gold and soft. Add the garlic and the tomato strips. Cook for several minutes, then add the eggplant to the pan and the basil, along with a little pasta water.

5.  When the pasta is done, add it to the pan and toss with the ricotta salata. Serve, garnished with the fresh tomatoes, pepper, and a dusting of freshly grated cheese.

Cooks' note:
Cut and salt the eggplant and set aside for 3 or more hours, then rinse and blot it dry. You can peel and slice the sauce tomatoes early on, too, toss them with a little oil, and set aside until needed. The sauce and pasta cook pretty much simultaneously. Peel the tomatoes with a paring knife or by dipping them for 10 seconds or so into boiling water and then slipping off the skins.

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